Baking lessons with Linda

When Dan and I decided to move, the best decision we made wasn’t in choosing Fort Collins, or even Colorado in general. The best decision we made was moving three doors down from Linda and Tony.

I like people who have passion and knowledge. I *love* people who want to share that passion and knowledge. That’s Linda and Tony in a nutshell, which is why we like to visit restaurants and museums and gardens together and why I understand the basics behind throwing clay pottery.

One of the many things Linda can do well is to bake. I can speak to the results first-hand — I’m thinking of commissioning her fantastic cinnamon rolls for Dan’s next birthday, for instance — and I plucked up the courage to ask if I could play sous chef for one of her more elaborate baking projects.

Hello, kouign-amann. Since discovering these pastries at Moxie (an artisan bread shop that *shock* Linda turned me on to), I have been hooked. Kouign- (pronounced “queen,” more or less) amann are sugary, buttery, and flaky as all get-out. Challenge accepted.

I won’t walk you through the entire process, but suffice to say that it took us eight hours from start to finish, and that includes shortcuts we devised. (A good deal of that time was spent watching The Great British Baking Show while waiting on laminated dough to chill, and fanning the smoke detector when some melted butter started smoking.)

Half of our kouign-amann had no filling (as is traditional), and to the other half Linda added a banana-maple syrup filling she had concocted. We were inspired by Moxie’s banana-Earl Grey flavor; we’ve also tried Nutella, chocolate, and apricot flavors at Moxie and Izzio.

I’ll admit, there’s something slightly insane about spending eight hours to make one dozen pastries.

They were worth it. They might not look like much, but if you close your eyes and imagine eating a hot croissant coated in caramelized sugar and with a bit of fruit in the center, you’re halfway there.

P.S. To fuel up for the baking adventure, Dan and I drove half an hour out to Loveland to bring back a BBQ spread from Piggin’ Out. Quite good! We found this wild mural on our trip.

Hello, gorgeous.
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